Saturday, May 28, 2011

hash brown casserole, fresh pico de gallo

This morning after my yoga class -- Yes I am now regularly 'practicing' yoga! This has been a long time coming, as you can see here and here -- I was trying to figure out what to cook for breakfast. Neither Tom or I really wanted to have the typical eggs, I didn't want pancakes, and we didn't want to go out to eat.

In truth, I really wanted home fries from scratch - diced potatoes, onions, green peppers - crispy on the outside. We don't have any potatoes at the house right now, bit we did have half a bag of tater tots. You might call tater tots the next best thing, or you might call it a cop out.

{are you having flash backs to fourth grade right now like I am?}

After cooking these bad boys in the oven, I threw them in a skillet, mashed them up, and added six eggs. Let them cook for a while (I like my potatoes/eggs cooked well and a little crispy on the outside) and then add cheese.

Add the homemade salsa. Mix the salsa into the potatoes and then remove the skillet from the heat. You don't want to get rid of the fresh taste of the pico de gallo by letting it cook for too long.

Of course you can use store bought salsa, but I didn't have any. I did, however, have all of the ingredients to make pico de gallo. I might forget to buy salsa at the store more often.

When I make meals that can be described as 'different,' Tom's usual response is some variation of 'what the heck is that and why do you expect me to eat it.' Not so with this one... With delight, he exclaimed: "This looks exactly like Cracker Barrel's hash brown cassarole!!!" Great.

But I bet they don't make their own pico de gallo from scratch.

Hash Brown Casserole
1/2 bag of tater tots, cooked in the oven
6 eggs

Pico de Gallo
two tomatoes, diced
half an onion, diced fine
one jalapeƱo, diced fine
handful of cilantro, chopped
juice from half a lime

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kohlrabi Scares Me!

Well, kohlrabi used to scare me. When I went to the farmers market yesterday, I decided to purchase a few and give them a whirl.

Speaking of the farmers market, things are so very SUMMER now aren't they? We've moved beyond spring, beyond chilly mornings, and beyond neverending mounds of kale at the weekend markets (but oh how I do love kale!). I suddenly find peaches, strawberries, lettuce and tender garlic shoots available. Though I did come 5 minutes too late to get the strawberries. Pity.


Are you, by chance, admiring the fabric in these photos? You should be. My fabulous sister made me these four fun place mats for my Christmas gift last year. I LOVE them. For a gal who tends to surround herself with grays, white, black and the occasional bright blue, these place mats were just the thing I needed to get me through the winter.

And now that its getting warmer outside, they fit in even more. Our dining area is pretty dark (deep red walls, dark wood floors), and these place mats bring some insta-joy to the space.

Dinner last night was fun fun fun to make. I'll be completely real with you and tell you I wasn't that thrilled with how the food turned out (so I won't put the recipes here to lead you astray), but I had so much fun making some healthy vegetarian food for dinner. And using fresh ingredients was fun too: eggplant, tomato, lettuce, radish, garlic, kohlrabi, sweet onions, fresh grated parmesan cheese (not all these are from the farmers market, just to clarify).

What's on your table this season?

Oh, I should at least share the basics of cooking kohlrabi in case you want to try it out too. First, peel the bulbs. The skin is tough and no fun to eat. Slice the bulb very thin, mix with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid browning. Add freshly grated parmesan to the top of the kohlrabi and bake for another 5 minutes. My mistake may have been not adding enough cheese to the kohlrabi at the end, so I'll try this again in the future. Next time, I'll make a roasted veggie medley with kohlrabi, peppers, carrots, potatoes, etc.

You can eat the green leaves of the kohlrabi too. Will be adding them to a stir fry sometime this week and I'll let you know how they taste.

Happy Monday!

Monday, May 9, 2011

a dish worth making

I'm tired. Its well past my bedtime. Even the dogs have calmed down, and Tom is snoozing away. The sun is down, the sky is dark, the dishes are washed and put away and my eyelids are heavy.

And yet, here I am. Despite the fact that I want to go to bed immediately, I had to share this recipe with you. Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos. Yum. Amazing. Easy. I wish I had snapped some photos in-process, but I didn't even think of it. Here they are right before and right after going in the oven:

On top: sour cream and salsa verde. On the side: Mexican Cherry Tomato Salad. Divine.

I am staying up past my bedtime to ensure that you don't miss out on the goodness that is creamy chicken taquitos. All I ask in return is that you buy the ingredients on your lunch break tomorrow and make them for dinner tomorrow night. Everyone will love you. Seriously.

You're welcome.

Just for fun, lets discuss the margarita that I had for lunch today. Made with tupelo honey, served in an insanely touristy glass, frufru to the max. I thought this girly-looking drink just might be a gamble worth taking. It was. To get yours you'll have to find your way to Apalachicola, FL. Home of the oyster, so Tom tells me.

Not my most flattering picture to date. Lets just focus on the drink shall we?

Good night everyone. Thanks for reading.

And PS. This Pink Parsley gal is my new.favorite.person.ever.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

a week on the beach sounds good to me

As you may have gleaned from the title of this post (I just love that word - gleaned. I try to use it whenever possible..... big dork here, sorry.), I am on vacation! We were going to spend a week hiking the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail, but Tom totally wussed out at the last minute.
Did you believe me? I'm working on my lying skills. No, Tom didn't wuss out. In truth, we cancelled our week of climbing mountains in the woods because I'm terribly out of shape and lazy. Now that I ponder it, reeeeaaaallllyyyy lazy. Lately I've been having a hard time getting out of bed every morning, and I always feel drastically under-rested. I hope I'm not coming down with something.

Thankfully, at the last minute (read: the day before we left), we got a great offer to stay with a friend here in Florida. Plans of lounging on the beach and drinking cold things are being fulfilled. Mostly I'm excited that Barley was invited too, so we brought her along to share in the fun.

Honestly, though, I'm full-on-ready to spend a week away from work and in relaxation mode. I'm excited about using the week to recharge and focus on the little sparkly gems in my life - running, writing, cooking, knitting, crafting. Sort of like a staycation, but without that nagging feeling that you ought to be cleaning your house instead of relaxing.

Last night I made Mexican Cherry Tomato Salad, and it was divine. Really, divine. Also: easy!! Divine and easy is a recipe for success (hardy har, my puns crack me up).

Next up? Perhaps some Brie and Bacon Quiche. Yes please.

{Image taken from The Pioneer Woman}

Or maybe some Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos from Pink Parsley. I've never made taquitos before, but these look easy and yum.

{Image from the Pink Parsley}

If you haven't noticed yet, this vacation is - for me - very much about cooking and food. 

Speaking of which, I tried my very first raw oyster tonight. Tom prepped it and made it perfect (with hot sauce, horseradish, a saltine and cocktail sauce). He did make the disclaimer that the appropriate way to eat an oyster is definitely straight up - no chaser - but I wasn't ready to go that route.

I wish you all a vacation as relaxing as this very soon. And for you mothers, Happy Mothers Day!!

PS. I'm really trying to get in shape. Really. Apparently the city is offering yoga on the beach every morning at 10am this summer.

I will definitely be going.

I might be going.

I'll definitely think about going.

Monday, May 2, 2011

oh the things i could be doing.....

Lately I've been inspired by the fun spring projects around the web.

Right now, I'm feeling......

  • Moved by this video,
  • Inspired by this knit fish hat (pattern in link),
  • Called to donate on Ree Drummond's fabulous site,
  • Excited to start something new after looking at this quilt,
  • Ready to make an octopus. Or perhaps this frog. Or even better, these slippers. (I die!) 
  • Dreaming about what one day may be here... (did I ever mention I envy all farmers - and one day hope to be one?)
  • Eerily Inspired by this Pioneer Woman post (I've been contemplating writing a children's book about Barley for a few months now - don't tell!)

But with all this inspiration, eventually I have to actually do something with the information. There is a fine line between using your free time to gather ideas and wasting your free time looking at the cool stuff everyone else is doing. Lately my mind scatters from one idea to the next in just a few moments - I am ready to bake a cake, sew a quilt, make my own purse, knit a hat, make baby clothes for my pregnant friends, grow heirloom tomatoes, make my own paper, gather herbs for homemade soap, plan a scavenger hunt, read War and Peace, plan a detox, learn how to play the fiddle, and start planning my sheep farm. And that's just while I'm sipping my first cup of coffee.

Gathering inspiration from other people is, on one hand, a great blessing. I feel charged by the energy of other people, and I can mainline enthusiasm directly from one person's project directly into my soul. Sometimes I feel so full of ideas that I could burst. But often, I feel so.... unaccomplished. For all of the dreaming that I do, such a small percentage of it translates into actual doing.

Even though I am pulled to do a little bit of a lot of things, there is such value in doing one thing well. My mother is a master quilter. Really, her technique is impeccable, and she has been quilting for much of her life. Even in the midst of a particularly long and challenging project, she still plugs away at the quilt until it is finished.

As soon as I get tired of a project, I move on to something else. And though I enjoy having varied interests, I often feel that I have very little to show for it.

I'm going to sign off and work on a project that I've been meaning to finish for a while. I'm going to focus on just one thing.

Braves game on TV,
New soy candles setting the mood,
Dog curled up by my feet,
Knitting needles in hand.

Tonight I am happy to focus on one thing. Tonight, one thing is enough.
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